Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 29, 2008, 2:13 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5
Default

Hey all. Long time reader of this board and I wanted to come here and ask a couple of questions.

I currently am a musician/computer technician, but for a long time have wanted to get much more into photography since everyone tells me I have a great "eye" for photos, and over time have realized just how much I enjoy taking cool photos, and particularily editing them afterwards.

I plan on teaching myself in greater detail how to use post processing programs like photoshop etc, but what I would require some assistance with is where I should get started.

I currently own a more simple Fujifilm 7.1MP for everyday usage.. but I kinda get frustrated with it at lower light and at times it can be annoying cuz the auto setting takes some blurry pictures.

My birthday is coming up in September and I was hoping that I could get myself a really nice more professional DSLR. that said, I don't really know which one would be best for me to pick? I have looked on the board here and lots of the reveiws in "the best" list sound good.. but which would fit someone in my position best? I admit there is lots to learn if you're me, but I have a pretty decent understanding of ISO and different macro settings..

Also, I want to be able to take some really nice panorama and wildlife shots since I live in Vancouver and its just full of greatphoto opportunities. I admit my knowledge of lenses is pretty non-existant, so a bit of information on what would be a good choice here is crucial for me.



Sorry for the long post.. and I appreciate any information I can get from the wise users of the board. Thanks so much!
Scoobydooby11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 29, 2008, 2:45 PM   #2
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Welcome to the forums.

Yes, for more flexibility (especially in lower light), a dSLR is a good idea.

But, you'll need more than one lens for optimum results in more conditions.

For indoor use without a flash (for example, live music in dimmer lighting), it's a good idea to have a brighter prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) available to you, so you can get faster shutter speeds to help prevent motion blur from subject movement.

Yet, for the wildlife images, you may want a zoom that goes out to 400mm or so. It depends on what kind of wildlife and how close you can get.

For general purpose use, one of the kit lenses starting out around 18mm may be a good idea. Then, use it for a while to get a better feel for it's strengths and weaknesses so you can make better informed decisions later. But, they're really not bright enough for use indoors without a flash. If you can use a flash, an external flash is a good idea for best results.

For macros, depending on whether you want to shoot flowers or insects, a dedicated macro lens can be a good thing (but, you may not need a dedicated lens, depending on what subject size you have in mind).

If you're on a tighter budget, most of the major camera manufacturers have two lens kits that would work OK for most conditions. Then, get something brighter if you need to take photos indoors without a flash (assuming non-stationary subjects). Then, use the kit lenses for a while to get a better feel for their strengths and weaknesses in the conditions you shoot in more often, so you can make better informed decisions later (i.e., if you need something longer, brighter, sharper, etc.). Any lens choice is a compromise in one area or another.

What kind of conditions are you shooting in where you're getting too much blur with your existing camera, and what kind of budget do you have in mind?

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 2:56 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Landscape, Wildlife and Macro are popular types of photography. You could check the cooresponding forums here (Landscape Photos, Wildlife Photos, Close-ups), to see what other people are using. That might get you started.

There are some major things that distinguish different brands, so you might want to consider some of those as well. For what you want to do, you may need a fair assortment of lenses (wide angle zoom for landscape, telephoto zoom for wildlife, macro for macrophotography), and while all OEMs (supplimented bythird parties)have lenses that fit those categories, so have larger selections than others, especially within a particular category. You also mentioned your dissatisfaction with your existing digicam in low light, and that may or may not involve another lens choice.

Canon has the best selection of lenses and accessories for it's dSLRs than anyone, followed closely by Nikon, although Nikon's selection of lenses for it's entry level dSLRs (D60, D40X & D40)is not nearly as good. Sony and Pentax fall neatly into third and fourth place, though Sony has a better selection of telephoto lenses while Pentax has a better selection of wide angle lenses, and Sony's lenses can be very expensive. Olympus is in last place, and its lenses can also be expensive.

A popular feature of dSLRs is image stabilization. Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some, but not all,of it's lenses. This method projects a stabilized image out the back of the lens, so it works with extension tubes (for macrophotography), all teleconverters, and 'Live View' (composing a shot on the large LCD display on the rear of the camera. Stabilized leses are bigger, heavier, and more expensive than non-stabilized lenses. Pentax, Sony, and most Olympus dSLRs use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, so it works with any lens, but doesn't work as well with extension tubes or some teleconverters, and Sony's implimentation doesn't project a stabilized image to the 'Live View', though Sony's version does have other advantages.

Olympus makes the smallest, lightest dSLRs, and by virtue of its smaller image sensor, has the smallest, lightest lenses for equivalent angles of view.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 2:56 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5
Default

^ ty for your reply!

To answer your questions, for the new SLR it would be primarily used in outdoor scenarios I beleive, since I would be using it to try and capture wildlife and landscape and then editing it on my machine. Insects, flowers etc. I may use it indoor, but nowhere near as much I would beleive.

I would be willing to spend up to and around 1k for the camera alone, and then later on spend more on lenses once I find out in particular what would be the best options for me.

Mainly though I want to know what would be a good starting camera with good features, good clarity sharpness and all the rest, good in low light (doesn't have to be amazing or anything.. just better than average since I can always edit the photos) and particularily which brand would suit this.
Scoobydooby11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:04 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Scoobydooby11 wrote:
Quote:
Mainly though I want to know what would be a good starting camera with good features, good clarity sharpness and all the rest, good in low light (doesn't have to be amazing or anything.. just better than average since I can always edit the photos) and particularily which brand would suit this.
Because of the various types of photography you want to persue, and the differences in the selection of lenses for those types of photography, I suggest you consider the lenses you would need, and select the camera body based on that.

Any dSLR will run rings around what you're using now, but if you pick the wrong camera brand, you may paint yourself into a corner.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:09 PM   #6
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

The lenses may end up being the majority of the expense, depending on the quality needed. ;-)

What do you mean by "low light" (be specific if possible)?

None of the kit lenses are gong to be good enough for indoor photos without a flash (unless your subjects are not moving). They're just too dim for that purpose.

As for insects, for best results, you'll want a dedicated macro lens with 1:1 magnification (a.k.a., lifesize macro). That means you can fill the frame with a subject the same size as the camera's sensor at it's closest focus distance).

Here are a few popular choices in 1:1 Macro lenses (available in most popular camera mounts like Sony/Minolta, Pentax, Canon and Nikon). Just make sure to get a lens in the correct mount for the camera body you choose.

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro for $449 at B&H

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for $399 at B&H

You can get a 50mm for less if you don't want the longer working range of a 105mm:

Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro for $269 at B&H

The camera manufacturers also have dedicated macro lenses available.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:20 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5
Default

^ wow thanks guys. Lots to look at here.



I will take a look at those lenses. I would probably want to grab the 90mm lens to start. I think that would be sufficient to get started. Naturally i would want to figure a method of how to work since I would like to get some cool photos going on and then editing them.. using different tools and making the shots look more artistic with photoshop and aftereffects.

What I mean by low light is just not having to use a flash in a scenario where maybe the sun is going down and it is dimming outside. Or even inside, where you want to capture something and don't want the flash to light up the shot.. does that make sense??

So from what I've read, Canon would then be the best option since it has the best range of supported oem lenses? What about canon as a brand? I would imagine they are some of the best, but is there a particular model that I should focus on? Reason I would like to know is so that if I do find myelf in a camera store, I'll know what to look out for..



Thanks again guys!
Scoobydooby11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:30 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Can you post some examples of the types of photos you like to take?

That would help us to suggest lenses for you to consider.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:38 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5
Default

^ good idea.



Here are some examples of stuff I would like to do..

http://nzeman.deviantart.com/art/Boreas-90095323

http://werol.deviantart.com/art/Burn...-Past-90028213

http://damien-c.deviantart.com/art/the-cycle-89877454

http://mmenathalie.deviantart.com/ar...rnoon-90035764



So yeah stuff like this.. just nature shots, whatever I see that I feel deserves to be captured. I would then be taking these shots and mucking about with them.


Scoobydooby11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:41 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Scoobydooby11 wrote:
Quote:
What I mean by low light is just not having to use a flash in a scenario where maybe the sun is going down and it is dimming outside. Or even inside, where you want to capture something and don't want the flash to light up the shot.. does that make sense??
What you're looking for is a large aperture lens to capture as much light as possible since the subject is not well lit. There are zoom lenses that have maximum apertures as large as f/2.8, which is good, but for larger apertures, you'll need to forgo the convenience and versatility of a zoom lens for the larger aperture of a prime (fixed focal length) lens.

Canon has a good selection of large aperture, prime lenses, as do Nikon (though they won't autofocus on the entry level camera bodies) and Pentax. Sony and Olympus have some, but they can be expensive.

Scoobydooby11 wrote:
Quote:
So from what I've read, Canon would then be the best option since it has the best range of supported oem lenses? What about canon as a brand? I would imagine they are some of the best, but is there a particular model that I should focus on? Reason I would like to know is so that if I do find myelf in a camera store, I'll know what to look out for.
Yes. Canon would be a good choice. And the Rebel XTI and XSI are at the low end of what they offer. They are both really good cameras, but Canon also makes some others that offer faster frame rates (i.e.: 5 frames per second vs. "only" 3) for sports, action, or wildlife, as well as other features geared toward the requirements of professionals.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:30 AM.